Street Photography in Airports [Inspiration + 7 tips]

As a nomad street photographer (I hop from country to country with 2 kids), I fly often and spend a lot of time in airports. And since street photography can be done anywhere, I like to shoot even when ready to board the plane. So here is my street photography in airports, with tips!

Airport Street Photography Inspiration & Tips

Man walking down an airport aisle in hong kong

1. Prepare your bag

The last thing you will want to do when it comes to shooting street photography at an airport…is actually shoot. Your bag is heavy, you are probably tired, the line drained you…so make it easy on yourself. Either keep a small camera in your pocket (like the Ricoh GR) or if you have a bag, make sure your camera is somewhere that can be easily accessed when you need to shoot.

2. Be extremely cautious

When you are at an airport, you are NOT in a public space, you are in a private space. And after 9/11, a lot of people are on edge, so if you want to make pictures, don't look suspicious with your camera. I've had people stop me at a bus station, imagine at an airport. Likewise, the next point…

3. Don't photograph people or hide them well

As a general rule, don't photograph people so that they are recognizable. How would you react if you saw a stranger taking pictures of you or your kids while in the waiting area? It would look suspicious. So don't point your camera at anyone, like I said people are already on edge, and most street photography laws are strict about private spaces. So focus more on doing Street photography without humans as much as possible.

4. People looking out the window

Man looking out the window of an airport
Man looking out the window of an airport

But that doesn't mean your images need to be void of people. You can incorporate them into larger scenes, like pictures of people sitting down (as silhouettes) or looking out the window.

5. Pictures of the Crowds

A crowd of people looking at the right in an airport

While it's a no-no to photograph people at airports, crowds are different because the image is no longer about a single person but about the crowd itself. All of images on this page have been process with these street photography presets.

6. Focus on the reflections

Airport floors can be shiny!

There's lots of windows and reflections in airports, look at them and see if you can make a shot with shadows. Don't dismiss the floors, these can be quite shiny in airports and provide the opportunity for great shots.

7. Look outside the windows

Lastly, don't forget to look outside the window. These provide for some moody dramatic shots if you have great looking clouds.

Conclusion

We've just seen great examples of airport street photography and a bunch of tips. All you really need is to have your camera and be ready at all times, airports and resting ares provide for some great opportunities. They are everywhere if you are attentive enough. What's next? If you are reading this you are interested in street photography, right? Then check out my beginner street photography book and my street photography masterclass.

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